How the Church Cuts

“But they were cutting-” Lyra couldn’t bring herself to say it; the words choked in her mouth. “You know what they were doing! Why did the Church let them do anything like that?”

“There was a precedent. Something like it had happened before. Do you know what the word castration means? It means removing the sexual organs of a boy so that he never develops the characteristics of a man. A castrate keeps his high treble voice all his life, which is why the Church allowed it: so useful in Church music. Some castrati became great singers, wonderful artists. Many just became fat spoiled halfmen. Some died from the effects of the operation. But the Church wouldn’t flinch at the idea of a little cut, you see. There was a precedent. And this would be so much more hygienic than the old methods, when they didn’t have anesthetics or sterile bandages or proper nursing care. It would be gentle by comparison.”


In the fictional universe, the Church cuts children from their souls, but in our own history they have castrated boys to preserve their ability to sing in the choir.

Folksonomies: religion dogma

/law, govt and politics/legal issues/international law (0.582540)
/religion and spirituality/christianity/latter-day saints (0.553666)
/art and entertainment/music/singing (0.447873)

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Church:Organization (0.827502 (negative:-0.457662)), Lyra:Person (0.401502 (negative:-0.216867))

Castration (0.946241): dbpedia | freebase
Castrato (0.721433): dbpedia | freebase
Cut (0.716307): dbpedia
Gelding (0.619885): dbpedia | freebase
Farinelli (0.599334): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Singing (0.591172): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Chemical castration (0.589890): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Boy (0.558259): dbpedia | freebase

 Golden Compass
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Pullman , Philip (2002-09-01), Golden Compass, Random House Childrens Books, Retrieved on 2011-08-10
Folksonomies: fiction atheism fantasy